This is an adventure for Level 3 characters, in the Pathfinder Campaign setting. The Ultimate Combat book will help immensely for this adventure.
*Warning* This adventure is set in the Mana Wastes, a region where magic no longer functions due to a war a between two great wizards. The people of this region turned to alchemy in order to protect themselves from the elements, and the wandering Gnoll tribes that maraud the territory. The technology is at the point where Black Powder weapons can be found, and this adventure will focus on gun combat.
-Background- There are two key locations in the Mana Wastes: Alkenstar, and The Gunworks. While guns are manufactured in Alkenstar, the Gunworks is where Alchemists and Engineers toil away designing newer and better weapons. Couriers and Caravan guards are necessity, running blueprints and weapons across the wasteland.
One such Alchemist is Elmira Brown and her wife Sophie Brown. Together they own "Elmira's Gunsmiths", a not to successful company that is currently circling the drain financially. The PC's can be any non-casting class, and will function as Elmira's Couriers, Gunsmiths, or engineers. As such, they will have limited access to masterwork firearms which will be uniquely designed (which will be detailed below).
A month prior to the start of the adventure, there are reports of spies or infiltrators snooping around at night. However the Guard is doubled and the sightings stop. Several couriers go missing over the weeks that follow, but return with no memory of what transpired. While all of this is transpiring, Elmira makes a discovery that will revolutionize the business and put her shop back on the map. She sends out Foyle Whipple, the companies most loyal and experienced couriers to Alkenstar to purchase a "Skymetal saw" A tool capable of cutting any metal, including adamantium. However after a week he never returns. When news of Folyle's disappearance, Reaches Elmira and Sophie, they set out to look for him. Not trusting the PC's yet with the location of their discovery, they explain they are setting out to "Check on their investment" and would be back the next day. After two days, they never return. This brings the PC's to the present time.
Alex Lafayette, the head gunsmith employed by the Browns, Urges the PC's to look for Elmira, Sophie and Foyle. If the PC's are not motivated by good nature, Alex will let slip that Elmira sunk the companies total wages for the month (30,000 GP) into buying the Skymetal saw. If they do not recover their boss, and the saw, they will not be getting paid for their labors the past weeks (300 GP, plus free weapon maintenance, ammunition and the prospect of custom weaponry). Alex imparts the PC's with directions to where this discovery should be, and in theory where the missing people can be found.
**FOR DM'S ONLY** In fact, it was a month ago that Foyle found a cache of 18 Mythral Golems and one Adamantine golem hidden away in the desert. The Golems were built thousands of years ago by the Mages of Nex, and were to be deployed against the armies of Geb. But when the "Spellscar" tore open, and magic ceased to function in the area, the golems became nothing more than inanimate chunks of metal. The Gibbite mages sealed the cache as best they could, but without magic there was no way to destroy or move the golems. And as such they sat forgotten to history. Unknown to Foyle, a cult of Derro have been squatting in this cache, and have been worshiping the seemingly indestructible Golem as a god. They are led by a Derro Alchemist named Ny'brixus, who believes that his alchemy will one day allow them to walk in the sunlight, and be as indestructible as their god. They followed Foyle back to the Gunworks, and have been abducting people ever since, hoping to discover how it is they can survive in the sun. Elmira planned on using the Skymetal saw to cut up the golems into component parts for weapons. Allowing her to make weapons which are lighter, and stronger than any other on the market. This would be just the thing to put her shop back on the map! When they come across Foyle, with the Skymetal saw in his possession, they assume that it is a stolen part of their god and drag him back for more invasive "testing".
Event 1) While traversing the desert, a lone Gnoll is found a mile south of the Gunworks. Its wandering aimlessly, and appears to be disorientated and dehydrated. If interrogated, the Gnoll talks about "The metal god that does not break", and hearing the screams of someone calling "Sophie!". With a DC 25 Diplomacy check, or a DC 20 Intimidate check, the Gnoll will direct the PC's to the cave where he escaped from. Aiding the Gnoll with a DC 15 heal check can add +5 to a diplomacy check, as can giving the Gnoll a days rations of water.
Should the PC's have to camp out in the desert, they will fall pray to a Derro attack at night. 4 Derro will sneak up on any PC who is keeping watch and strike with an Injection Spear. The spear is filled with a concentrated poison, which causes unconsciousness (Fort save: DC 17, Unconsciousness on a fail. secondary effects persists 3 rounds causing 1D :6 Dex damage. The Derro can only carry one PC back. If more than one PC is keeping watch, then one Derro will try to cause a distraction to split up the PC's into smaller numbers. Otherwise, they will not attack, but will observe them until dawn. If a PC is captured, see room 2 for details.
Event 2) Reaching the cave: About 12 miles south of the Gunworks, a range of shattered rocks scatter the desert floor. Appearing to be nothing but debris formed during the great war, a small opening appears in the rock face. A closer look shows the opening to be a cave. A DC 15 survival check shows that a number of small footprints lead in and out. The cave appears to be natural, but a DC 20 Spellcraft, or Dungeneering check reveals that the outside of this cave was magically created from existing rock in the area. The inside of the cave is much the same, magically created to appear natural.
"The entrance appears to be a black void, the bright desert sky thickening the darkness beyond the mouth of the cave. Past the threshold, the tunnel splits into tow paths jutting left and right."
1) "This room was once a guard station, century old weapons and armor litter the floor, wood furniture dessicated by the dessert air have crumbled to dust. A wall separating a separate room has fallen in the back, leaving only a half wall. Two small figures dig through the rubble while muttering to each other in Undercommon as they pick through the refuse on the floor."
Two Derro (Bestiary 1, P. 70) will attack the PC's on sight, trying to defend their home from intruders. They will move behind the half wall using it as cover, and attack from there. The half wall will provide a +6 to AC due to cover (giving them AC 23, AC 19 against firearms). Both have Pistols, and will focus on one PC at a time. The noise will alert other Derro from area 5 (if they are still alive), who will arrive in 3 rounds and attempt to flank the PC's.
2) If the PC's engaged the Derro in area 1, then the four Derro in this area are set up behind the guard station on the far end of this room. If not, then they are in the middle of the room chatting in undercommon.
"This area appears to have been converted into some kind of prison. Compared to the tunnel, the walls are made of brick, and have weathered the years quite well. Whimpering can be heard from within these three of these cells."
If one of the PC's has been captured, then their calls can be heard from one of the cells as well. Now, randomly determine three cells to be open. These cell doors can provide cover for the PC's as they traverse the room, and can make for interesting combat, should any party members try crossing the room to enter melee combat.
In the cells, Elmira, Sophie and an Osirion woman can be found. The Osirion woman identifies herself as Ankesenamun, fourth daughter of Amamotep. A DC 20 Knowledge nobility check, or diplomacy check identifies her as belonging to an Osirion noble house. If made friendly, she explains how she was captured by gnolls when she ran away, and those same gnolls were captured by the Derro.
3) Unless the PC's head straight here, the four Derro will be stationed here and ready for a fight along with their leader who moved here from area 4 to protect the giant god.
"This massive room is filled with 18 large Mithral Golems, all standing at attention in three rows. At the back of this room, a massive, golem towers over the rest. Its black metal sparkles with silver flecks, and the symbol of Nex engraves on its chest. Hiding at the feet of the feet of these golems, four small figures stand at arms, poised for a fight. Standing in front of the metal giant, stands a figure clad in robes and with vials in hand. He curses at you violently and motions for the others to attack!"
Using the golems as cover grants a +4 to AC, and to move through a space occupied by a golem requires a DC:20 tumble check, to move between them needs a DC:15 tumble, or a cost of 5 feet of movement. To knock over a golem requires a DC 25 Strength check, and a stationary golem has a CMD of 25. A fallen golem deals 5 D: 6 damage to any creature behind it (reflex DC 18 for none).
4) This is Ny'brixus's laboratory. In it you can find Foyle being vivisected. He is thoroughly sedated, but needs a DC: 25 heal check to survive this operation. If left in this state he will be dead from shock and exposure within a day, and failure by 10 or more will also result in his death. On a failed check (but more than 10) he survives, but with 9 points of con, dex and cha damage.
5) as 1.
Derro Alchemist 4:
HP: 45 Ac: 17
Fort: +7 Ref: + 5 Will: +6
Bombs per day: 6 Bomb Damage: 26
Extracts: Protection from arrows (bullets), Cure light wounds x2
Meele: Skymetal saw: +5, ignores armor, D6 +2.
Concluding the adventure: Should the PC succeed in returning Elmira and Sophie to their shop along with the Skymetal saw, Award them 4000 EXP. If they recover Foyle alive, 800 EXP, and if they succeed in fixing him award them another 800. As for the Osirian princess, she would be willing to award the PC's a large financial award should they escort her back to her father, but thats another adventure....
At Elmira's shop she has several one off weapons that the PC's can "field test". Allow them to apply one of the following abilities to their weapons:
Rifling: The barrel has been rifled allowing the first range increment to be doubled for purposes of bypassing armor.
Cartridge: Rather than being a front loading musket, a single re-loadable cartridge is fitted to the barrel allowing for faster reloading. This weapon can be loaded as a move action. With rapid reload, it can be loaded as a free action
Silencer: A basic silencer, this increases the DC for the weapon to be heard by 5. However it reduces the weapons damage by one die step (ie. D8 become D6 ect, ect).
Sight: An accurate scope functions like a spyglass and decreases the penalty for firing beyond range increment by 2.
High Velocity. Increase the damage step for this weapon by one die value, and increase the misfire rate by 4
Revolving shotgun: Scattergun only* Can fire three shots before reloading. Increase misfire rate by 2
For after the adventure:
Adamantine weapon: After two misfires, the weapon will not explode or be destroyed. Powder and ammo will still be expended as per normal, but the weapon itself will not be destroyed. This weapon can still gain the "broken condition" if it misfires. The weapons weight increases by half.
Mithril weapon: Weapons weight is cut by half. One handed fire arms gain +2 to slight of hand checks when drawing from a concealed place. This stacks with any existing bonus.
I've DM/GM'd a few times now (less than 10 times), and each time it's been without miniatures or to-scale maps. I've actually taken very well to abstract, flowchart-ish dungeon maps where lines are corridors and two squares indicating rooms may represent a narrow hallway and a grand pillared hallway, even though they are drawn as two simple squares.
I strongly associate D&D with precise mapping on grid paper. So I see a map like this without grids, I wonder if you too leave precise distance and scale as abstract things. If so, how do you manage combat encounters?
What I've thought of doing is for every monster, roll a 1D3 and say that "Okay, the fat orc will be in striking distance in (1D3) combat rounds. The pale orc, in (1D3) rounds, and the red orc is already within striking distance of (randomly pick a player character). What do you do?"
If you have a way of managing combat without miniatures, I'm very interested in hearing it. One of my players is a rather picky tactician.
Truth be told, I drew this on grid paper, but my scanner was not picking up the lines right and I had to re-draw it on plain paper. If you print this off on a 8X10 paper, you can trace it onto grid paper.
For a while now we have been using white boards and Dry Erase Markers. Its easy that way. Draw whatever the room looks like, pick different colours for the PC's and the Monsters, then assume ever 1 inch = 5 feet on the board.
Currently, however, I bought some of Paizo's map packs. There is one which is plain grid. All the map packs are Dry Erase friendly, so you can draw out your map, and the grid is already on there for you They only cost $10, and $10 again for a pack of 8 markers.
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before anyone asks,
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Welcome to APRIL
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More